Responding to the news that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has today approved the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine for use, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“With infections spreading rapidly across the country, and with record numbers of Covid-19 patients now in hospital, piling pressure on the health service like never before, the approval of another safe, effective vaccine is welcome news for doctors and the public alike.
“It is now crucial that supplies of this vaccine are given to as many GP practice sites and hospital hubs as possible, and that this happens quickly so that we can begin vaccination en masse.
“With 100 million doses of this vaccine already ordered we need to see a step change in distribution so that doctors can protect their patients and communities, beginning with those most at risk, and crucially this must include health and social care workers as they confront the virus on the front line.
“While this vaccine may not have the same logistical hurdles as those associated with the Pfizer jab, the task of vaccinating such large numbers of patients in a short space of time is a huge challenge.
“Doctors taking part in the campaign, whether that’s in hospitals, GP-led sites or mass vaccination centres want to get on with the rollout and this needs support and investment. It is important that GPs have the flexibility to deprioritise other services to focus on this vital work.
“Vaccination will play a decisive role in beating the pandemic, and the speed at which we can both reduce pressure on the NHS and return society to any semblance of normality hinges on the success of this campaign.
“Until such time as we have significant uptake of the vaccine however, we cannot afford to let our guard down – and must continue sticking to restrictions and introducing further measures where necessary. We must all do our bit in preventing transmission through good infection control.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.